Archive for the ‘Progress’ Category

Spring 2018: Mice!!!

Friday, August 3rd, 2018

This spring I took the car out for a drive, and I looked up and noticed a little hole in the headliner, over my head.  Then I noticed some stains on the headliner.  I investigated further, and I realized that the headliner smelled like mouse piss.  I had to tear out the (expensive) headliner and also remove all the interior panels that surround it.  I discovered even more mouse stuff under and behind the back seat.  To clean it up, I had to:

  1. Take out the rear seat.
  2. Take apart the rear seat back upholstery and wash it.
  3. Wash the seat back frame and springs.
  4. Reassemble the rear seat back.
  5. Clean under teh rear seat, and various places where the headliner is attached to the wooden roof framing.
  6. Order a new headliner ($$$).

I have the new headliner, and I will install it hopefully this weekend.  Then I have to re-install all those surrounding panels, which requires a lot of fussy nailing.  (Not like modern cars where everything snaps into place!)

The mice were able to get under the rear seat through the opening in the floorpan around the rear spring.  This gave them direct access to the underside of the rear seat and the space behind the interior panels to to the roof, so they could hang out there all winter without leaving any evidence of their presence (until it got warm and you could smell them).

There is supposed to be a cover over that opening, but I never bothered to install one.  I’ll have to do that, too.

Dealing with this has taken me from April until August.  I was hoping to fix up one of the rear fenders this summer, but it looks like that will slip into the fall.

Spring 2017: Improved Brakes

Friday, August 3rd, 2018

Last year I replaced the original stamped brake drums with new cast-iron ones.  This really improved the braking, and got rid of the fading that happened when the thin stamped drums got hot and expanded.  I sent my old hubs (with the old drums cut off) and shoes to Randy Gross in California.  He installed the new drums on my hubs and sent them back, along with a newly-relined matching set of shoes.  The only annoying part of the process was having to completely take apart the complicated rear brake/hub system to reach the shoes.

Status Update: January 2017

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Over last summer I had lots of other things to do, and I didn’t get started on the fenders or horn or headlights.  At Hershey (2015) I did find a pair of real nice headlamp reflectors, which I immediately installed.  The car has been running well, and I have enjoyed taking it to several shows (as far as 80 miles away) and driving around town.  Hopefully I’ll make more progress next spring and summer.

Up and running!

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

I bolted on the headlight bar, headlights and horn, as well as the hood latches. I also painted black the small bolts that hold on the latches, and the fender to the frame. Finally, the entire front end is put together and the car is fully road-worthy.
I took it to the “Days of the Past” antique tractor, truck, and car show, where it hung out with several Model A pickup tracks and converted doodlebug tractors. It looked very handsome. I also did several drives around town, and nothing stopped working or fell off.
I ought to get started on the rear fenders, but I may not get to them for a couple of months. I was planning to use a rear right finder I bought at a swap meet several years ago, but I realized that it is from a regular, not s slant-window, sedan. It bolts on fine and is almost identical to the correct slant-windshield fenders, but the tail end is about an inch shorter, and it would look odd with a correct fender across from it.
In any case, I am planning to go to Hershey tomorrow, and I’ll see what turns up there.  If I can’t get started on the rear fenders this fall, I could start restoring the horn or the headlamps.  The horn really just needs to be bead-blasted and painted, and the headlamp restoration is mostly a matter of buffing out the stainless steel housings and replacing some small parts.  I have a bunch of headlamps, so I can pick the best two to restore, and leave another pair on the car to keep it road-worthy.

Fenders bolted on!

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

I attached the fenders to the car, along with the braces, the headlight bar, and the welting between the fenders and the splash shields. There were a lot of bolts to install, and a lot of fiddling and adjustments.

I decided not to use one of the original fender braces, because the place where the headlight bar attaches had some badly-repaired rust damage.  I had a spare brace, which I sandblasted and painted.  I also made some measurements of the braces, and did some careful bending to get them to match each other.

The next step is to install and hook up the headlights and the horn, and attach the hood latches.  Then the car will be fully road-worthy.

Yay! Both fenders painted!

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

I got the second fender painted. Since it is a new repro, it needed less sanding and prep than the other one. I had applied the primer-surfacer last fall, and I needed to apply only a little bit more near the front edge, where I had earlier modified the shape.

The next step of course is to attach them to the car. But first I need to do a bit of tweaking and adjustment on the fender support braces, so that the fenders will be nicely aligned on both sides of the car. I had sandblasted and painted the braces several years ago, but since then I noticed that they do not exactly match each other, especially since they have had some cracks and damage repaired many years ago by welding.

One fender completely painted!

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

With the summer already half over, I finally got the driver’s side fender completely painted. First, I did a lot of sanding of the sprayable polyester filler I had put on last fall. Sanding that stuff is a very dusty job, and both the top and bottom needed to be done. I probably sanded off 75% of it, but I had to add a bit more filler in a couple of places. Then I sprayed on three coats of acrylic urethane filler-surfacer, and block-sanded it. Once section of the fender needed a couple more coats and a bit more sanding. The last prep step was to wet-sand the entire fender, top and bottom.
Then I applied the same sort of finish coat that the rest of the car has gotten: a coat of epoxy sealer and three coats of (black) acrylic-urethane enamel (two coats on the underside). I also painted the four carriage bolts that hold the headlamp mounting bracket to the fenders.
The next task is of course to paint the other fender. That will be a lot less work, since it already has its coat of acrylic-urethane filler, and it just needs to be lightly block-sanded and wet-sanded, before getting its finish coat.

Another little job

Sunday, May 17th, 2015

I bead-blasted and parkerized the original front fender mounting hardware: about 16 bolts, and the matching nuts and washers. Surprisingly, these original nuts and bolts are in quite good shape, and they can definitely be re-used.

Over the winter: rear shocks

Monday, March 30th, 2015

It was especially cold this winter, and there were very few times when I even wanted to do anything in the (unheated) garage.

I did get a pair of brand-new reproduction shocks from Bill Stipe. They were expensive, but very well-made. In March, as soon as the garage was consistently above freezing, I painted them, and bead-blasted and painted the original rear shock arms. Then I installed everything on the rear of the car, using the original nuts and bolts that I had refinished a couple of years ago when I did the front shocks.

So now the car has good working shocks on all four wheels!

Spring is finally here, and it is slowly getting warmer, so I should be able to resume work on the front fenders in a week or two.

Finally: paint on the fenders!

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

After 13 months of work, I was able to start painting the front fenders.  First, I had to set up my in-garage painting tent, since outside there are leaves all over the place. The last time I had used the tent was about a year ago, when I painted my other car, the Triumph Spitfire.  Then I added some bits of threaded rod and random scrap metal to my fender jig, so that the fenders would be held in place several inches above it.  This made it possible to reach the entire bottom surface with the spray gun.

I started with the freshly-sandblasted driver’s side fender.  First it got a couple of coats of epoxy primer.  Then I applied several coats of sprayable polyester filler to the top, where there were remnants of the dents and scratches that I had mostly worked out, and to parts of the bottom, where there was some rust pitting.

The other fender was a new reproduction which was almost dent-free, but it had gotten some patches of light surface rust during the year I had been working on it.  I cleaned and degreased it very thoroughly, sanded it all over to get rid of the rust and make a better surface for the paint, and finally applied a phosphoric acid treatment.  Once it was dry, it got a couple of coats of epoxy primer, followed by a few coats of filler-surfacer on the top.

I finished all of this on what will probably be the last reasonably warm week of the year.  The finders are now hung up on my garage wall for the winter.  Next spring, the repro fender will just need to be block-sanded before getting its finish coat.  The old fender will need a bit more work: the polyester filler on the top and bottom will need a lot of sanding, and the top will need a couple of coats of the filler-surfacer, followed by block-sanding.